One of my photos

Labour desperate in Northgate?

October 14th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

The local Tories are so predictable.   The latest edition of their ironically-named newsletter, Insight, has been going through doors in Northgate this week and it says just what I expected.  They are saying that Labour is flooding the area with activists because we are desperate to win.An alternative view is that the Tories just can’t be bothered to muster more than two people at a time because they are assuming they will win anyway, and I’m sure that accusation would have been made of us had we not put some effort in.

Out efforts have not gone un-noticed by the voters either.  They have commented to us favourably on how active we have been lately.

In the past the party has been complacent, back when we held even more seats than the Tories do now.  Over the last few years they have been bussing in helpers from Horsham to ‘flood the area with activists’ which apparently is a good thing if they do it, but somehow a bad thing if we do.

Not that we have been bringing in loads of outside help.  Tonight there were eight or nine of us in a group, all from Crawley and several from Northgate itself.  Some were in their eighties, others unfit or just unsuited to excercise, and the reason they were there when they would have been far more comfortable back at home was not desperation, but motivation.

During this election the Tories have produced another work of fiction, so misleading it could even be the work of Alan Quirk, where they are promoting their candidate who, like all the candidates, lives outside Northgate as “the only local candidate”.   When they did this there were failing to take account of two things:

Fist they must have forgotten that ballot papers contain the candidates’ addresses.  Any voters who do make their decision purely on grounds of location, regardless of policy, might have been swayed by these “only local candidate” claims, but once they see the ballot paper they will realise they have been duped.

More importantly, the Tories do not realise that such misleading claims have a far greater effect on Labour  members than on the voters – many of whom routinely discard all election material unread anyway, and most of whom don’t vote for anybody at all.  The effect it has is to make more of our members more active, deciding to go out and do something about it.

The old saying goes (probably) that every time you tell a lie an angel dies.  Well every time you lie in an election leaflet an armchair supporter from the other side decides to get out of their armchair and start knocking on doors!  And when they are dismissed as ‘activists’ they are not ashamed of that but proud of it.

So keep up the good work Crawley Tories!   A few more such newsletters and we will have enough of our members stirred up to have this level of activity all the time.

And another thing…  it was very nostalgic this evening.  I can remember when all elections had the levels of activity that Labour have been showing in Northgate this month from all the parties.  It was not seen as flooding an area: it was just how things were.   For weeks before an election the streets were full of canvassers, windows were full of posters and on polling day the booths were full of voters – not like the miserable levels of turnout that we see now.

All political parties have seen membership drop and age to the extent that it is not possible to see that sort of thing now outside by-elections,  but surely that has a lot to do with the increasing apathy at election time?

The other reason I felt nostalgic was that it suddenly occurred to me that our candidate was carrying out a very old-fashioned campaign and acting the way candidates really should do – showing leadership to the team with him, fully engaging with every member of the public he met whether it was at their doorstep or as they were getting out of their car, proudly stating that he is the candidate, and just being totally committed.

I don’t know how things will go on Thursday, but if Geraint should win and he turns out to be half as good a councillor as he is a candidate then Northgate will be very lucky indeed.  I could embarrass Geraint by saying this (or I would embarrass him if I thought he ever visited this site)  but he has really inspired me to be a better candidate myself in Horsham.

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